You are hereFrom the Pastoral Staff -—Deacon John

From the Pastoral Staff -—Deacon John


Updated 12/12/2017

What are you waiting for?

In the Opening Collect for Gaudete Sunday we pray “O God, who sees how your people faithfully await the feast of the Lord’s Nativity, enable us, we pray, to attain the joys of so great a salvation and to celebrate them always with solemn worship and glad rejoicing.”

Preparing and waiting seem to be the most frequently expressed words heard during Advent. We all wait in long store lines or we wait for the window to pop-up confirming our online shopping order; and then we anxiously wait for the delivery! We prepare and decorate our homes and then wait for the guests.

When John the Baptist arrived on the scene, people were waiting a long time for change and a reason to hope. He came into a world very much like our own - that was troubled on many fronts. The political world was in upheaval. Everything that people depended upon for stability was falling apart. People began to blame each other for everything. Sound familiar?

During these days of dying daylight and increasing darkness in our world, I suggest we ask ourselves how well are we preparing and waiting. Who or what is the focus of everything we think is so important? Are we wait-ing for the Advent and Christmas seasons to just be over? I believe John can help us to refocus our intentions, uplift our attitude, and answer these questions.

In today’s Gospel we are reminded that John the Baptist “…was sent from God. He came for testimony, to testify to the light…” Like John, we are called to testify to the light in our own lives – perhaps by brightening up someone else’s dark days. This will bring us joy while we prepare for the next moment when Jesus will come. For Christ to become real we have to help make it happen. Advent is our opportunity for passing on the love of God which is visible in the Lord’s Nativity.

The prophet Isaiah says: “He has sent me to bring glad tidings to the poor, to heal the brokenhearted, to proclaim liberty to the captives, and release to the prisoners.” Here are several gift ideas. We could become the reason for someone to rejoice — to experience the joy of Christ through our presence and kindness. When Jesus came as a baby peo-ple got a wonderful surprise gift. God delights and surprises us by be-coming one of us. Imagine who you might surprise this season?

Do you remember in grade school learning the vowels? “A-E-I-O-U and sometimes Y”? Use this as a mnemonic to consider what gifts you can give this Christmas. Advent is a time of hoping and preparing for a change of heart so we can experience the joy of gifting others with our presence. John the Baptist redirects our eyes towards God’s way of seeing our world and bringing joy into our neighbor’s lives. Consider of-fering the following gifts:
(A)cceptance – of ourselves and others as favored by God
(E)ncouragement– of those who are brokenhearted
(I)nvitation– to those who are outcast or shunned.
(O)pportunity – to start over through forgiveness (U)nderstanding – to those who have been held captive by our misjudg-ments. And of course: (Y) - Why not? God is always doing this for You! Think what a wonderful surprise and source of joy and blessing your pres-ence can be for someone! Set the example of providing “Gaudete” Joy that could last longer than any unwrapped gift. To whom can you reveal the unimaginable depth of God’s love made real through you? Pray for the strength and direction to live out God’s call to become a living example of Christ's love.

Peace & Prayers for many joy-filled God moments!

"!

Deacon John